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  • Writer's pictureDenis Green

China Sports Business Weekly | 3rd March

Hello Industry Friends, here is the very latest news and insights from China. 📰 Headlines: Mailman launches Red Card 2023, Mengniu partners with NBA on digital collectibles, Road to UFC returns, Weibo and Asian Games reach cooperation, WTT announces Macau event, KAWO releases ultimate China social media cheatsheet, youth fitness training gains traction, and NeoTV plans IPO. 🗣️ In this week’s From The Top, we spoke with Sébastien Wasels, Managing Director, Asia Pacific at Paris Saint-Germain, about the club’s new live stream initiatives on Douyin, how PSG became the most followed club on the platform, and celebrating Chinese New Year.


🗞️ Top Industry News Mailman Launches Red Card 2023: China Digital Performance Index The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar made a notable impact on the rankings, with Lionel Messi returning to the number one player spot, whilst PSG became the most popular club online for the first time. The Premier League maintained its dominance as the most popular league online, claiming a fifth title in a row. Read the report here (English) 💡 Mailman Take: In the first-ever winter World Cup year, Douyin's broadcasting of the tournament was a milestone, attracting a huge audience and record fan engagement. The platform made history by being the first short video platform to broadcast the World Cup live, and the results were astounding with a cumulative number of live stream viewers reaching a whopping 10.6bn.


Mengniu Partners with NBA on Digital Collectibles The Chinese dairy giant collaborated with the NBA once again, launching digital collectibles combined with basketball and straw elements. The launch closely follows their partnership a month ago celebrating Chinese New Year. Read more on DAO (English) and SocialBeta (Chinese) 💡 Mailman Take: Mengniu continues to leverage western sports IP to gain market share in China. Off the back of a big showing in Qatar, the dairy producer is making the most of its partnership with the NBA to tap into a new consumer base that extends its resonance with western culture, fitness, and Web3. Road To UFC Returns UFC announced the second season of ROAD TO UFC, the most significant opportunity for Asia's top MMA prospects to make it to the world stage. The opening round will kick off the tournament on May 27 and 28. ROAD TO UFC Season 2 will once again feature men’s flyweight, bantamweight, featherweight, and lightweight divisions. Participating athletes in Season 1 came from China, Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and India. Read more on UFC (English) and Tencent (Chinese) Weibo and Hangzhou Asian Games Reach Strategic Cooperation The Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee and Weibo reached a strategic cooperation agreement for social media collaborations. Weibo has agreed to help promote and share Asian Games news on its main pages before and throughout the Games. Read more on Ecosports (Chinese) WTT Champions Announces Macau Event World Table Tennis, the commercial arm of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), announced that Macau will host a WTT Champions event next month. The WTT Champions Macau event will take place at the Tap Seac Multisport Pavilion from April 17-23 and will feature 32 of the sport’s leading men’s and women’s singles players. Read more on SportBusiness (English) and Global Times (Chinese) KAWO’s Social Media Marketing Cheatsheet 2023 As always, KAWO's annual Ultimate China Social Media Marketing Cheatsheet 2023 is a must-have for anyone and everyone interested in social media and digital in China. Download the HD image here


Bilibili Announces Q4 and Full Year 2022 Financial Results Bilibili's total revenue reached RMB 21.9bn, up 13% year-on-year. Among them, the fourth quarter revenue reached RMB 6.14Bn, and the net loss narrowed by 29% year-on-year. Read more on Seeking Alpha (English) and The Beijing News (Chinese)


🤔 Opinion Will Nike’s Bet On Chinese Women’s Sports Communities Pay Off? Nike is eying the growing number of sportswear consumers in China with the launch of its new leggings campaign. To promote its recently released Nike Zenvy gentle-support and Nike Go firm-support collections, the brand unveiled a campaign video starring Chinese fashion designer Feng Chen Wang, KOL Chunlan and Niuniu. Read more on Jing Daily (English) and Sohu (Chinese) Fitness Training for Youngsters Gains Traction Specialised kids’ fitness training centers are set to be in high demand in Chinese cities following the raft of new education policies that were introduced from 2020 onwards. The kids’ fitness training market in China is expected to exceed $18.7bn in 2023, according to Duojing Educational Research Institute. Read more on DAO (English)


🎮 Esports NeoTV Planning $55m IPO in the US Shanghai-based, white-label esports tournament production company NeoTV Group Limited (NeoTV) is preparing for a $55M USD initial public offering (IPO), with the hope of trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the symbol “NTV.” Read more on The Esports Advocate (English) and Sina (Chinese)


🎙️ From the Top 🗣️ Sébastien Wasels, Managing Director, Asia Pacific at Paris Saint-Germain. 1. PSG recently live-streamed a match against Ronaldo’s Al Nassr-Al Hilal on Douyin, drawing a huge number of paying fans to watch. How did this opportunity come about and what were the key lessons & takeaways? This was a fantastic opportunity to bring this unique match live to our China fan base. We selected Douyin following their experience at the World Cup and our existing 3+ million fans on that platform. We wanted to try something new with the subscription model given the premium content and were amazed to see nearly 1 million viewers paying to watch the game on our channel. This needed a huge amount of work behind the scenes including technical operations and platform communication. Our big takeaway though was that with great content, Chinese fans are willing to spend to consume. 2. PSG has become the most followed European Football Club on both Douyin. What do you put this success down to? Any key learnings to share? We’ve been very patient with our China presence and focused initially on engagement over followers. This created a strong community that has grown together over time. Our team here in China is producing unique content every day specifically for each platform. Naturally also following the Messi signing, we had a huge increase and have continued to ride this momentum throughout the World Cup 3. How did PSG celebrate the recent Chinese New Year holiday? Chinese New Year is always an incredibly important celebration for us. This year we went all out creating a special reunion live stream inviting celebrities Jay Chou, Guo Gan, and women’s player Li Mengwen to talk about their memories. Our first team players also wore specially designed jerseys with Chinese characters for their names, with content produced around them.


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